What is a good animation budget for educational courses?
You have an educational course and you want to spice it up using animation. Unfortunately, deciding on an animation budget is a difficult thing. You have to take into consideration the type of animation, the video quality (that includes illustration style, motion complexity), the educational value of the animation because they all affect the cost of video. By going through these elements, we will guide you through and help you make the decision on what sort of budget is most worthwhile for you!
Budget based on your purpose and expectations
Why are you using animation?
To best understand the budgeting of an animation, you have to understand how much it’s worth – meaning what its value is to your course. Animated clips can be little visual aids to your lessons or more important parts of your class. For example, you may want to set a budget for:
- A short animation that visualizes your content
- Some story-telling videos to use for case studies
- A series of videos with varying purposes for a full animation-based course
Give this a read to find out more about choosing your visual aids’ content:
Often, once you have decided to invest in animation as a teaching aid, you will want to have more than just one video. The number of clips depend on your purpose. Moreover, each of these calls for a different budget. Perhaps you can already guess that a short animation will require a smaller budget than a whole series of more complex clips.
Types of animation
From here, you will likely also start thinking about what type of animation you want to do. Specifically, do you want whiteboard, 2D or 3D animation? Obviously, the higher the technology required (e.g. 3D) the more money you’ll have to set out for it.
For instance, since the designs and movements of whiteboard animation is simple, and the tools are very easily accessible, the budget for it will be around half of that of 2D animation with simple models. Meanwhile, a lot of studios will charge you at least three times the price of a 2D video for a basic 3D one. This is because the technology and skills needed are much more complex and expensive to get your hands on.
Tip: keep each clip short (2-3 minutes), otherwise they may become distracting!
Want to keep animations from disrupting learning? Give this a read:
Expectations on video quality
For each animation project, you will also have to think about the quality of individual clips. These may include asking yourself:
- How many characters would you like to have?
- Is the script going to be heavy on technical content or visual content?
- Do you want them to be richly colored or are basic color schemes fine?
- What will the audio of the video be?
All these have a bearing on your animation budget – the complexity of the script and the requirements you have on the audio that will affect the cost of animation. Altogether, these considerations will affect your budget.
Find out about what is included in the cost of animation here:
All of these considerations ultimately comes down to what your students expect or can get from this addition to their course. For instance, when the video is doing most of the teaching, like this TedEd clip below, and the students expect to learn a lot from it, the quality of image and smoothness of motion should be high. Additionally, there is also a wide range of settings used, which makes the animation more complex, thus requiring a bigger budget.
Animation budget – let’s talk numbers
Now that you know roughly what affects your budget, we can start thinking about specific amounts. To help you get there, we’ve created a list of yes/no questions, the answers to which will give you an indication of your budget. Here’s the list:
- Animation quality related questions:
- Is using 2D designs going to be better than whiteboard animation for my course?
- Will 3D animation be necessary? (they might be for highly specific content like medical training)
- Should the motions be swift and smooth rather than simple?
- Will I need a complex color scheme?
- Do I need help with the script? (Does my script rely less of my specific knowledge of the subject and more on the visual effects animators can create?)
- Are characters going to make my animation more engaging and effective?
- If yes, will I be needing more than two characters?
- Will these be a need for voice-over that I cannot do by myself?
- Are you building a brand image for your course through animation?
- Will you require consultation with educational animation experts?
- Animation quality related questions:
In case you can’t decide beside 2D and 3D animation, check this out:
Answer these ten questions, count the times your said ‘yes’ and voila! We have the answer for you.
You said ‘yes’ twice! Expect to lay out $400 – $10,000 per minute animation.
This indicates one of three kinds of animations.
- Simple, short story-telling clips, often for children, that requires characters that are often colorful but not very specific. You can also do your own voice-over for this.
- Demonstrations of expertise knowledge that may require more detailed designs but simple storyline, little expertise in animation knowledge.
- A series of basic videos, most likely whiteboard animation, to use in several lessons and situations
In both of these cases, the work will be less complicated, as long as you communicate well with your animator. The budget we suggested has a wide range to take into account the various choices that you may have in choosing smaller or bigger animation studios.
Affirmative for up to 5 questions! Your budget: $3000 – $20,000 per minute video
In this case, you may be looking for more high-tech animation, with effects and movements that require more work. Perhaps there has to be unique designs or even hand-drawn animation, since your video are not using generic characters or objects but very specialised ones. As a result, the clip will cost your more, so expect to pay more!
Find out if high quality animation is worth it here:
If you answered ‘yes’ more than 5 times, get ready to splurge!
Requiring more than 5 of the elements listed above means that you are looking at rather complex scripts and high quality animations. You may need detailed, 3D designs which there are no existing templates of. Similarly, the movements and transitions of the videos may be technically advanced. This high level of expertise will necessitate a higher animation budget!
Of course, as we’ve mentioned before, the price varies in each of these three budget estimations depending on which kind of studio you approach. A bigger, well-established one may have access to some more advanced programs, but will indeed give you a high quotation. On the other hand, smaller studios can give you much lower offers, and still give you a lot of expertise that you as an educator will not have. They are a great option for beginners, since the animation budget required will be moderate, and the products will definitely be worth it!
This will make looking for a suitable studio easier for you:
If you still have doubts or questions about other aspects of producing animations for educational purposes, check out some of our other posts below or contact us for free consultation!
- Animation’s role in creating a positive eLearning environment
- 3 educational animation examples for online courses
- Secret keys to write an awesome animation script
- Animation trends in eLearning: which one should you opt for
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